It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Downton Abbey and we love advancements in publishing. Downton Abbey’s creator Julian Fellowes is embarking on a brave new project that marries digital technology and Victorian serialised storytelling.
From the press release:
Ground-breaking new project will see story published in weekly chapters on immersive app.
Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and Orion Publishing are delighted to announce an exciting new publishing project that has its roots in the writing of Dickens, Hardy and Gaskell.
Julian Fellowes’s Belgravia will launch in April 2016 and will marry cutting edge technology with the age-old art of storytelling. A free, immersive app containing the first episode of Julian’s new story will be available to download to smartphones and tablets from Google Play and iTunes App Stores, or via www.julianfellowesbelgravia.com.
A further ten episodes will be released week by week, building up the story in bite-sized instalments complete with twists and turns and cliffhanger endings. Each episode can be bought individually… When the final episode has been released, Julian Fellowes’s Belgravia will be published as a Trade Paperback for traditional readers.
The episodes can also be listened to as audiobooks, and the reader will be able to switch within the app between reading and listening at any stage. Each episode will contain extra content around the story such as video, music, character portraits, maps of Belgravia, background information on the history of the period, fashions, family trees and exclusive competitions. These will also be found at www.julianfellowesbelgravia.com.
Julian Fellowes’s Belgravia opens on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, 15th June 1815, when the Duchess of Richmond threw a magnificent ball in Brussels for the Duke of Wellington. Just before 1am, word came that Napoleon had unexpectedly crossed the border and Wellington and his troops had to leave immediately to prepare for war.
Many of the officers died on the battlefield, still in their dress uniforms. At the ball are James and Anne Trenchard, who have made their money in trade. Their beautiful daughter Sophia has caught the eye of Edmund Bellasis, the son and heir of one of Britain’s most prominent families. An event takes place at the ball that has a seismic effect on all their lives. Twenty-five years later, when the two families are settled in the newly developed area of Belgravia, the consequences of this terrible secret still resonate. Behind the doors of these magnificent new houses lies a web of gossip and intrigue.
Julian Fellowes says: “I was very intrigued by the idea from the start. To marry the traditions of the Victorian novel to modern technology, allowing the reader (or listener) an involvement with the characters and the background of the story and the world in which it takes place that would not have been possible until now, and yet to preserve within that the strongest traditions of story-telling, seems to me a marvellous goal and a real adventure. I am terribly grateful to Orion for giving me this chance.”
With the harnessing of digital technology to tell stories in a new, yet old way, we feel empathy with Violet in Downton Abbey when she said, “First electricity, now telephones. Sometimes I feel as if I were living in an H.G. Wells novel!”.
Want to register to stay up to date with the project? You can do so over on Julian Fellowes’s Belgravia website.